More filtration may be needed at Phoenicia Water District

By Jay Braman Jr.
A back up source for the Phoenicia Water District may need a filtration system in the future, causing officials to forge big plans for how to manage the upgrade.

Shandaken Supervisor Rob Stanley insisted Monday night that he does not want to put the tiny district into debt, but explained that the facility, known as the High Street Pump House, is not on a suitable piece of property to handle a filtration system.

Therefore, he said, he is looking into moving the system to “a higher location” but did not specify where that would be.
As for the costs associated with the purchase of property and any future filtration needs, Stanley said that grants could be obtained.

Debt concerns
“I’m not comfortable putting long-term debt on the Phoenicia Water District,” he said at Monday’s town board meeting.
But Alfred Peavy, chairman of the Phoenicia Water Committee, feared that such plans might hold up another problem solving project.

On the drawing board for some time is what is called the High Street loop; a water main installation that would connect the two ends of the system on that two-mile-long roadway. At present, water is fed to High Street from either end of that road, forming a horseshoe with two dead end main lines. Water officials were hoping to connect those dead ends soon so water flows more easily through the loop.

Calling the High Street loop project “a big deal” that would benefit the district, Peavey asked if this new plan to move the pump house would somehow delay the loop from being installed.
“I’m just putting the question out there,” he said.
This portion of water district infrastructure has had trouble in the past. Last September the pump house and well were almost swallowed up by the Esopus Creek after Phoenicia got seven and-a-half-inches of rainfall in one shot. Much of the shoreline had already been removed by Hurricane Irene in 2011 and the fury of last September’s currents took the unstable shoreline all the way back to the actual well casing.

A $150,000 stream-bank stabilization project, paid for by FEMA, made the property safer after last year’s erosion.
Stanley said the work has created another, unexpected problem.
The tiny piece of land now looks so attractive that weekend visitors to Phoenicia are using it as a picnic area. Stanley said it was completely unacceptable for water-supply land to be used that way.